Distinguished Visitor Seminar focuses on cognition and movement in Parkinson’s Disease

Research York University
Research York University

Michele Basso, a neuroscientist and researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles will present the next Distinguished Visitor Seminar. The event is hosted by the Faculty of Science and the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation.

Basso’s seminar is titled “Cognition and Movement in Parkinson’s Disease” and will be presented on Wednesday, Jan. 24 starting at 3pm in the Senate Chamber, N940 Ross Building, Keele campus.

The work in Basso’s laboratory is aimed at understanding how mechanisms of brain function give rise to higher mental experience and cognition. The primary focus of research conducted in the lab is on understanding how brain areas and their circuits allow us to make decisions based on sensory information and how memory is used to inform decisions when sensory information is uncertain.

In her seminar, Basso will share some of the recent results showing that a sensorimotor area of the midbrain plays a key role in establishing the internal criteria used to make decisions about sensory information.  She will also share how her lab is translating this discovery to humans with Parkinson’s disease in an effort to understand the relationship of these key brain areas and their role in decision making in health and disease.

Basso is currently the director of the Fuster Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The laboratory runs a research program focusing on basic questions of science that may have direct clinical impact on the treatment of certain diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. One of Basso’s current target research projects investigates the role of two parts of the brain, the basal ganglia and the superior colliculus, in saccadic (quick and simultaneous) eye movement decision-making. Saccadic eye movement choices, like many other action selections, are routed through the basal ganglia and superior colliculus within the brain. Further study of the link between these parts of the brain and saccadic eye movement selection may yield a better understanding of how Parkinson’s disease may cause decreases in patients’ decision-making ability.